Week 9.1 Discussion Responses
PROS: Direct mailing allows an organization to directly focus on specific individuals that would more likely send in donations to support their cause. For example, if an organization is based out of a low-income community, they can purchase a list of leads designed to target business owners or wealthier individuals outside their community.
CONS: A lot of people don’t communicate through the mail system anymore, and it’s easier and faster to utilize technology to send messages.
A pro of direct mail soliciting is that you can reach a large audience. This also can take less money as well. A con of direct mail soliciting is that you must be willing to test many different types of mailings and keep records to show which strategies work and which did not work (snpo.org). This would take one person to do and to keep track of. There are some areas that will be more willing to donate and some areas that might not. It also needs to grab people’s attention when they see it in the mail. I know that if I see something in the mail that I know or think is junk, I toss it.
Thank you notes are very important in the success of a non-profit organization. They rely on the donations of others and if the donations are not appreciated or recognized to the donors, they will lose interest or feel disrespected. Donors like to know their donation is being put to good use and if they do not receive a thank you or a response about it they will assume it was not valued. All donors should get a response and volunteers are some specific people who could be put in charge of the thank you notes. Big donations should receive a phone call immediately in return or a hand written note with a more personal thank you preferably from the executive directors or those in charge. Thank you notes do make a difference especially when they are personalized with details on what the donation was used for. It gives the donor direct information on how their donation was used making them more prone to donate in the future. Electronic thank you notes are effective, but should be used sparingly. For example, if someone makes a donation through the internet an electronic thank you would be acceptable. One important tool with electronic thank you notes or form letters is to change the script and information in the note in order to keep things up to date and donors do not get the same thank you every time they donate. This will show the organization pays attention to their donors and does not dismiss them. Taking the time to write a thank you will increase the likely hood of donations in the future. You can look at it through the ROI perspective. A small amount of time and cost to thank someone, could in return gain a huge donation making it very worthwhile. (Klein, 2016)
I make reoccurring monthly donations to Planned Parenthood – I also usually give one or two larger donations each year. I’ve been doing this for the past few years. I typically get a handwritten thank you note once a year. In this thank you note, they typically tell me the total amount I’ve donated and what programs have benefited from my donations – this letter usually comes from the fundraising coordinator or development manager. I also receive monthly thank you emails. I also receive mail from both my local Planned Parenthood and the national organization. Sometimes these are appeals for additional donations but other times they are sharing success stories or asking for support related to specific legislation.
The handwritten thank you note is nice but I don’t think it would make much of a difference as to my giving. I typically give larger donations in July and December. This is because I receive a bonus from work in July and my husband receives one in December. At these times we usually write checks to a few different organizations. I personally wouldn’t mind only electronic thank you notes. In addition to the thank you notes, I also get invites to a monthly gathering where Planned Parenthood staff and volunteers present information about the state of health care and reproductive rights. Even though I don’t attend regularly, these invitations are more meaningful to me than the thank you notes, handwritten or emailed.
I’m sure Planned Parenthood spends a significant amount of money on the mail they send out each month. There must be a decent return on investment or I assume they wouldn’t continue to do it month after month. I also think that more people have been encouraged to donate over the past year since reproductive rights and access to health care are at the forefront of many political discussions.